Find Love…Here…Now

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Last week, the challenge to create an amazing Valentine’s recipe was posed. Challenge accepted.

Although I am more of a chocolate kinda gal, the rich red color of raspberries is very fitting for the holiday of LOVE.

Speaking of love and especially love in relation to your food, you can add more love by following these FOUR simple steps starting today. Did I mention that your digestion, ability to assimilate nutrients, and burn calories also improves with these steps. Love that!

  • Sit down to eat – no more eating while standing or preparing or food. Yes, a nibble here or there is fine, but your meal should be eaten at a table.
  • Reset – Reset with 5-10 deep breaths. We are on autopilot all day long. When we don’t reset before we eat, we are in a physiologically stressed state and cannot optimally digest and assimilate our food, which creates a lot of digestive and weight issues. We can trick our brain into a relaxed state with our breath. Do the same thing at the end of your meal.
  • Stretch – the length of your meal that is. Again, if we are inhaling our food, we’re in a stressed state and cannot digest, assimilate, and utilize food as fuel. If you love food (I do!), then you want to spend more time with it.
  • Chew chew chew – By chewing your food, you’ll automatically increase the length of your meal. Digestion starts in the mouth where certain enzymes are released in order to help break down food. I’m not necessarily recommending counting the number of times you chew your food (but if this helps then by all means do so) but be present with it…no multi-tasking, which means no t.v., driving, or reading.

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Raspberry Oat Bars (gluten free, vegan)

Crust

1 c. nuts ( ½  c. pumpkin seeds + ½ c. almonds)
½ c. oats (gluten free)
¼ c. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Place dry ingredients into food processor and pulse until well combined, will have some slightly larger pieces –  you don’t want a complete flour like texture. Add maple syrup and vanilla and pulse to form dough. Remove and flatten into large square bar onto lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges or golden.

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Filling

1/2 c. raspberry jam (or more to taste or for texture)

Crumble Topping

1 c. walnuts
½ c. coconut flakes
1 T. maple syrup
1 T. coconut oil
¼ t. sea salt
¼ t. almond extract

Place all ingredients into food processor and pulse to combine. You don’t want a uniform dough, but rather a crumble-like texture. After spreading the filling onto the warm crust, layer the crumble on top. Bake at 350F until the crumble turns slightly golden, about 10 minutes. The texture will be chewy. If you would like a crunchier bar, bake for longer.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. They are perfect eaten alone or I’ve recently been enjoying layering them in chia seed pudding with coconut, walnuts, and cacao nibs.

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